Category Archives: Q & A

Q&A: Illustrator Jack Dylan preps for the Drake Spring Market


Hailing from Montreal but now happily entrenched in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood, Jack Dylan is an illustrator whose work has graced the pages of Toronto Life, The Walrus, Maclean’s and The Globe and Mail. Best known for poster art reminiscent of what you’ll find on the cover of The New Yorker on any given week, Dylan’s wares are on display this weekend at the annual Outdoor Drake Spring Market. Alongside handmade jewellery, one-of-a-kind art pieces and vintage furniture, Dylan’s posters depicting the Trinity Bellwood’s gate and a Mount Royal beach scene are up for grabs.

If you’ve ever wondered what went on inside the head of a talented illustrator with a penchant for podcasts and sandwiches, look no further. We cornered the busy artist recently and asked him about the most scathing criticism he’s ever gotten and his favourite place in the city to put pencil to paper.

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The magic of Poutini’s

Poutine. It’s the great Canadian snack tradition. In our expansive city, you can enjoy it many different ways. Get it at your local diner in a chipped bowl, try it the Jamie Kennedy way with beef brisket and cheddar cheese at Gilead Cafe, or enjoy it with lobster (and a classic bearnaise sauce) at Bymark. In any given establishment, poutine wears many hats. It’s an appetizer, an entree, and in others, a tongue-in-cheek shout out to a Canadian culinary tradition. However, in a sunny little storefront on Queen Street West, just a block east of The Drake Hotel, poutine is the bottom line.

In 2008, the Laliberte brothers opened the doors to Poutini’s – a little eatery with only one thing on the menu. “It was just the one size and just our poutine – fries, cheese curds and we had the beef gravy and vegetarian gravy and that was it,” Nick Laliberte told OurFaves recently. Since then, the retro-cool House of Poutini’s with its old, dented wood floors, exposed brick walls and painted tin ceiling, has been the birthplace of three new variations on the Quebec treat: It’s been the birthplace of three new variations on the Quebec treat: the pulled pork, the “Pou-ti-gly” (poutine avec bacon), and The Works (poutine topped with sour cream, bacon and chives). We sat down with Laliberte and four bowls of poutine recently to get the lowdown on the best way to enjoy poutine, why lineups sometimes extend out the door on Friday and Saturday nights, and whether it’s possible to get sick of poutine. Continue reading

A few of iYellow Wine School’s Angela Aiello’s favourite things (ie. Riesling)

Angela Aiello, founder of the Toronto-based iYellow Wine School inadvertently practices what she preaches. Throughout the year, Aiello can be found standing with a wine glass in hand leading a class on how to to appreciate a fine sparkling wine (among other varieties). The fizzy wine is bubbly, refreshing and focused, she might say. But so too is the teacher. It all started in 1998 when Aiello popped open a bottle of Vineland Estates riesling after work at the winery. “I just turned 18,” Aiello told OurFaves. “I brought it home from the winery and I had to push the cork into the bottle. I definitely remember that memory a lot.”

What was meant to be a summer job slowly turned into a career. In 2006, Aiello inaugurated iYellow Wine School. Since then, more than 6,000 people have sipped and sniffed reds, whites and sparklings with Aiello. Recently, OurFaves hitched a ride with Aiello as she toured a bus load of iYellow Wine Clubbers around Niagara-on-the-Lake. There was wine, there was cheese and there was a singing bus driver.

After the tour (and a new appreciation for all things riesling), we sat Aiello down and made her tell us about a few of her favourite wine things… Continue reading

O&B’s Anthony Walsh talks humility, Susur and his fave poutine

Managing seven kitchens in some of the most sought-after restaurants in the city isn’t an easy job, but Oliver & Bonacini’s Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh manages it with gusto. Never mind that he spearheads the creative process behind the inspired menus at top-notch restaurants like Canoe, Auberge Du Pommier and Luma – Walsh is a chef’s chef who takes more pride in his calloused hands than culinary accolades. Just on Sunday, Walsh teamed up with fellow chef luminaries Jamie Kennedy (Gilead Cafe & Bistro), Anthony Rose (The Drake Hotel), Paul Boehmer (Boehmer), and Hiro Yoshida (Hiro Sushi) to host a dinner and raised more than $40,000 for the Japanese Relief Fund.

Walsh was born in Montreal, schooled by Jamie Kennedy and has a propensity for dropping the f-bomb. Considered by many to be one of Toronto’s most talented chefs, Walsh spoke to OurFaves about what floats his culinary boat, the value of humility in the cutthroat restaurant industry and his weakness for 4 am Singapore street grub. Continue reading

Where to go on St. Paddy’s day in Toronto

Chris Taylor was already decked out in his St. Paddy’s day garb on Thursday morning as he worked feverishly behind the scenes fielding phone calls and making last minute arrangements for the biggest day of the year for Grace O’Malley’s pub in Toronto’s entertainment district. Taylor, O’Malley’s general manager has been in the bar business for the better part of 20 years. He sat down with OurFaves half an hour before the bar’s doors opened to welcome St. Patrick’s Day revelers to talk about green beer, St. Patrick and the Irishman’s drink of choice…Guinness. Continue reading

Q&A with OurFaves’ newest expert: foodieyu

We have a newbie foodie in the OurFaves mix – she’s foodieyu of Food Junkie Chronicles. We asked her our six most burning food questions… Continue reading

Fresh: A love story

It all started with some carrots and a juicer. It was 1990 and Ruth Tal was a University of Toronto student with a thing for organic carrot juice. Armed with two industrial juicers (paid for by a student loan) and good old fashioned moxie, Tal hit the road and took theĀ  mobile Juice for Life bar to the thirsty masses. Her healthy elixirs were a hit with crowds at Lollapalooza, the Kumbaya AIDS Benefit and the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair. Today, Fresh is no longer a little Queen Street patio – it’s a bonafide restaurant chain with an ardent following among Toronto foodies.

We wanted to know Fresh’s recipe for success, so we invaded the Fresh kitchens (and refrigerator) and interviewed co-owner Jennifer Houston (who also co-authored three Fresh cookbooks with Tal) about how the establishment has changed over 20 years, how she keeps things “fresh” and why Ricky Gervais would be her dream Fresh patron. Continue reading